Posts tagged ‘guest post’


Guest post on TechCrunch: How fast is your site?

On Friday I had the privilege of writing my second guest post for TechCrunch. My article was titled How Fast Is Your Site? Measure It With Google’s Page Speed Online. I talked about the new Page Speed Online tool from Google and how you can use it to analyze the performance of your website. It’s been a while since I’ve written for TechCrunch and it’s always fun to write for an audience of millions. A huge thanks to Erick Schonfeld for giving me the opportunity and helping me get my commas in the right places. I seriously wish he could edit everything I write.

I believe we are still in the early days of web performance optimization. Most people aren’t aware of how slow their sites are or how much their performance is hurting them. A big part of my job as CEO of Torbit is educating people on why speed matters. People need to understand the problem before they can be sold a solution. Tools like Page Speed Online make my job easier by showing people their sites aren’t as fast as they could be. The statistics are out there and the correlation between performance and revenue is undeniable. You’re losing money if your site is slow.

One person who “gets it” is Micah Baldwin. Micah added Torbit to his site a few weeks ago and reported a noticeable speed improvement as a result. He left a comment on my TechCrunch post that says:

It’s amazing how much speed matters. We have found a direct link to pageviews and revenue.

I’m stoked to be helping people like Micah get faster sites, increased pageviews and more money. We’re building an automated solution to fix slow sites and are making a lot of progress. We’ve got a ton of people on our waiting list and are looking forward to opening up our BETA soon. The technology isn’t trivial, but it sure feels good to be working on something that really matters.

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Guest post: Minimizing negative App Store reviews

Zack Shapiro is an ambitious entrepreneur and a good friend. I offered him a chance to guest post here after hearing him complain about Tumblr still being down. Zack is a senior at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He runs an iPhone development company, 59thirty, and is currently working on a stealthy startup. You can find him blogging on The Startup Student or on Twitter as @ZackShapiro.


Some software users are never satisfied. From my experiences dealing with the App Store, some users that leave feedback often expect the Holy Grail out of one particular app, regardless of development or technological constraints. People love to rant; they love to tell others about negative experiences. By ranting, we cope. We begin to make peace with a transgression, no matter the size.

Normally users have no place to leave their negative feedback other than on the App Store. The 1-5 star review system, at the end of the day, is broken because many people use 1 star reviews to get the attention of the developer so that their thoughts are heard, regardless of what they really thought of the app.

This leads to the sales of apps with small user bases being co-opted by a small set of unhappy customers who want their voices heard. For a small or medium sized app with few reviews, each single piece of feedback is important for the outside viewer or potential customer.

When I designed Beeline RTD (a transit app targeting commuters in Denver and Boulder, Colorado) I thought that it would be important to include a feature that allowed users to email the transportation authority, RTD, directly, to inform them of experiences both good and bad that might have occurred while riding pubic transportation.

I specifically wrote the copy for the Feedback section of Beeline so that users knew their thoughts were being sent to RTD and not to the developer. This wasn’t a trick. I created a Gmail account to share with RTD in hopes that they would check it. I hadn’t planned on visiting the account at all until one day my curiosity peaked.

In the past five months since Beeline’s release, the Feedback section of the app has turned from transportation feedback into app feedback. It has turned rants and suggestions from 1 or 2 star reviews into constructive emails with no App Store impact.

Here’s why it works:

Take 1 built-in support, add 1 part ability to rant and finally, 1 part instant gratification.

You’ve suddenly constructed a way for all users to have their voices heard without actually leaving the app. The friction of feedback is eliminated. Sure, if they’re pissed off enough they’ll go on the App Store and leave a review there as well. From what I’ve noticed, however, the simple act of typing their thoughts out in the app is enough to reduce inflammatory reviews significantly.

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A roommate’s perspective

This is a guest blog from my roommate, Mike Soltys. Mike and I graduated from Clemson together and now he’s working on his PHD at CU. Here are Mike’s thoughts on start-up life:

Hey Tech-blog world! My name is Mike and I’m a guest blogger for Josh. As many of you who read this blog may or may not know, my roommates are starting up the “startup” company “EventVue“. Now, you’ll have to forgive me for poor tech-terminology and the like because I’m by no means a techy, but I’m going to try to give you my outside view of the tech-startup world.

I’d first like to talk about the cost of starting up a company. I’m in college. I’ve been in college for just about as long as I can remember and I’ll be in college for quite some time. As a college student, I’m poor as dirt but Its OK because I really don’t work that hard. My roommates on the other hand don’t even know the meaning of “weekend” and they’re just as poor as me. They say that some day they will be millionaires, and when thats the case I guess all that hard work will pay off… but in the mean time is it really worth eating cold pop-tarts because you can’t afford a toaster (or the energy to run one?)

The second major qualm I have against being a start-up dude myself is the heavy use of Mac’s. I’m writing this very blog on a Mac and I’m hating every minute of it. Do Mac users think they are “above” right clicking, or was the right mouse button just too visually displeasing to include on their laptops?

The benefit of being a start-up dude is the party’s. I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to a few tech party’s which are actually pretty classy (even though they usually do lack ladies). They usually feature good beer, good food and stimulating conversation about the latest website that I just have to go to.

I guess thats why they do it… the party’s, but honestly I think I’m happy with being the roommate of a techie and being invited to the occasional party without the hard work, low pay, and the stupid Macs. Well, until we meet again, take care tech world!
– Mike

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